Oct 16, 2008

On Baptist Ecclesiology

"All may speak one at a time that all may be edified." (I Corinthians 14: 31)

Why have we lost this practice in many Baptist churches?

Where are the lay preachers? Where is the encouragement for young male converts to lead in prayer, to open services? Where is the desire to see God add to a church new pastors, new evangelists and missionaries, and new teachers, yea, even new prophets?

Further, where is the scripture that says that a man, when "ordained" to the ministry or pastorate, is "ordained" as such for the whole denomination? To believe such would be to promote a "professional" clergy.

There is a renewed debate today among Baptists about "ecclesiology" and "elder rule." Are we becoming Presbyterian?

Is the "ordained" clergy a professional entity distinct from the church? How is "elder rule" consistent with historic Baptist beliefs in "congregationalism"?

Did the early churches all have a plurality of elders or pastors? No. Also, where churches did have such a plurality, what did it mean, functionally speaking? What was the role of each?

Churches should always be praying for God to send them more laborers in the vineyard, for the Lord to call and equip more for the work of evangelizing and shepherding. They should also be looking out for those whom God has gifted and give them opportunities to exercise their gifts in the local assembly. This was certainly the practice of Baptist churches in primitive times.

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